Pocket Gardens in Chicago

For the last 2 years, I have been collecting photos of pocket gardens, that is, tiny urban gardens, small enough to fit in your pocket. Living in an urban setting myself, I’m always on the lookout for gardens that make good use of the limited space that they may have.

While staying in Chicago on our vacation, M and I walked through a beautiful (and obviously expensive) neighborhood with older apartment buildings and homes. Space is at a premium in the city, but still the owners carved out tiny garden spaces.

A couple of beautiful older homes across from our hotel. I’m not sure if they were apartment dwellings or single family homes, but they have a lot of character.


This tiny enclosed plot of greenspace is located between the sidewalk and the street. I believe these areas are called “hellstrips”. Not much color but very well cared for. The metalwork makes the space.

This tiny courtyard is my favorite pocket garden. It’s only about 8 feet across and maybe 4 or 5 feet deep. Still it is bursting with hostas and ferns and there is even room for a sculpture and birdbath.

Another attractive garden, even smaller than the last, probably only 4 by 4 feet.

The entry to the apartment building with all the little courtyards. The potted plants in the concrete urns suit the formality of the entryway and building.


Shade-loving plants for the tree-lined street.



This does not really show up very well but in there are fully grown trees on the balcony of this older building. I would have loved to see the garden that goes with the trees.


Looking out our hotel window, we could see a sea of grass on the rooftop of a neighboring building glowing in the sun.


About Jill-O

a girl who likes lakes, trees and critters; making an attempt at living the artistic life.
This entry was posted in Chicago, container gardening, gardens, photos, summer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Pocket Gardens in Chicago

  1. Donna says:

    The colors in the pictures are so beautiful that I could not resist having a second look and then a third one. Autumn definitely has a lot of charm in its own way 🙂
    I really loved the shade loving plants —- they are awesome with magnificent colors and lining

  2. Debbie DiNoto says:

    That little pocket garden with the lion and the small fountain is amazing. I could stare at it all day. Love your pictures. Fabulous! Is there nothing more peaceful than sitting in a great garden at sunrise or at twilight? I find my tiny garden to be nothing more than magical during these times. Thank you for posting these great pictures and gardens so we could all share in their magic.

  3. Jennifer Fisher says:

    Thank you so much for taking these photos and posting them! I love seeing the individuality of these little spaces. Tiny gardens are so charming, yet so easy to overlook–especially if you are in a car. Thank you for really seeing them and letting us see them too.

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